Skip to main content

Walter Neller family papers

Identifier: UA-10.3.426

Scope and Contents

This collection contains of 25 scrapbooks which span from 1924 to 1991. The scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, correspondence and ephemera highlighting the Neller's social life and activities in Lansing and East Lansing. There is also information about the real estate business in Lansing, and East Lansing.

Scrapbook 1 (1924-1928) contains newspaper clippings, mostly from the social pages, detailing the lives of Frances Harvey Neller’s friends. There are also many pieces of documentation related to sorority and fraternity life, as well as life on campus for students at Michigan State College. There are some programs from events that were happening on campus, such as a dedication to those who died in World War I and graduation programs for 1924-1928. The scrapbook has been disbound for preservation purposes. Loose materials were removed and place in separate folders.

Scrapbook 2 (1942-1954) contains Frances Neller's Michigan State Board of Education College Life Certificate Teachers Certificate. There are also membership cards from the American Rose Society, the Greater Lansing Rose Society, the Women’s Society of Christian Services, and the Department of Public Instruction as a certification that she took the Oath of Allegiance. Scrapbook 3 (1952-1960) was created by Mary Frances (Neller) Jessup to document her college experience at MSC/MSU. It contains a Life magazine cover of Michigan State University coeds, including Miss Michigan 1954, Janice Somers, who went on to place as 4th runner up at Miss America. There are Associated Women Student’s Handbooks for 1953 and 1954. Articles from the social pages detail the social happenings of Mary's sorority sisters. The scrapbook also contains dance cards, programs, and other ephemera. Loose materials were removed and placed in separate folders. To document the original order of these materials, photographs were taken of the pages from which they were removed. Photocopies of these photos are in the collection. The State News (headline: MSU Wins Senate OK by 23-2 Margin), April 14, 1955 issue was transferred to the State News collection (serial 9999).

Scrapbook 4 (1954-1958) includes newspaper articles detailing Mary’s wedding to David Jessup. One such article is about the bridal shower given at the President’s House on MSU’s campus by Sarah Shaw Hannah. Also included are Rose Bowl tickets for the 1956 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Scrapbook 5 (1959-1962) contains several Girl Scout Articles including several highlighting Suzanne’s involvement. There are also numerous invitations to various events throughout the year. The scrapbook also contains a University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University football ticket, from the 1961 season informational brochures and pamphlets from the 1962 Seattle World’s fair.

Scrapbook 6 (1963-1965) has newspaper clippings and pamphlets detailing the dedication of Abrams Planetarium, articles and pamphlets from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and newspaper articles about an addition to Sparrow Hospital.

Scrapbook 7 (1965-1969) includes articles and invitations to the Inaugural Ceremonies for Governor George Romney. There is a ticket to the 1965 football game vs. UCLA for seating in the President’s Box. There are articles and papers detailing Mrs. Neller’s appointment on the Edward W. Sparrow Hospital Auxiliary. There are articles about President Hannah and his wife Sarah May. There are also several articles on a State of Emergency that was called following a blizzard that took place on January 27, 1967, as well as an article mentioning that Michigan State University would be closed for the day. There is an article detailing the 1967 Commencement ceremonies in which the 100,000th diploma from Michigan State University was handed out, and the largest class of graduates so far (3,724) graduated. There are also articles about the July 1967 Detroit riots, and about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Scrapbook 8 (1969-1974) has several articles about Sarah Shaw Hannah and information about Clifton Wharton becoming president of MSU. There are letters from Suzanne Neller, Frances Neller’s daughter. Also included is information about the Sparrow Hospital Auxiliary, and invitations to events, as well as information about the death of Marjorie M. Post. There are also invitations, articles and letters regarding the Michigan State University President’s club, and various invitations to events, including the Nobel Prize dinner given in honor of Dr. Alfred Hershey. There is also information regarding the local real estate market, especially those about Walter Neller, who was the real estate agent of the year in 1972. Scrapbook 9 (1975-1977) includes brochures and information from a trip to Canada where Walter and Frances Neller attended a meeting of the National Home Builders Association. There are also several pamphlets and newspaper articles from events at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. There are also clippings and programs from Kappa Alpha Theta’s 50th Birthday Celebration. There are newspaper articles on Gerald R. Ford’s run for the presidency and his campaign stops in Michigan. Several articles focus on the development of downtown Lansing, specifically the buildings that the Walter Neller Co. was working on.

Scrapbook 10 (1978-1980) has articles detailing the 50th Annual Patriarch’s Luncheon, which was hosted by Walter and Frances Neller. There are articles on MSU’s first National Basketball Championship in 1979; highlighted are Greg Kelser and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. There are also articles about President and Mrs. Cecil Mackey, Cowles House, and the new amenities that were purchased by Mrs. Mackey, which caused controversy because of the “extravagant cost.”

Scrapbook 11 (1980-1982) contains newspaper articles on Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding, and the Ford Presidential Museum Dedication. There are also articles on Earvin “Magic” Johnson, detailing his career at MSU, and his draft into the NBA. There are numerous articles and ticket stubs for the dedication of the Wharton Center. There are also letters detailing Walter and Frances Neller’s membership in the MSU Presidents Club, as well as articles on the newly constructed Cyclotron. Loose materials were removed and place in separate folders.

Scrapbook 12 (1985-1988) includes articles on Michigan State University President DiBiaggio, as well as brochures, tickets and articles from the Neller's trip to New York. There is also a ticket for participation in the Centennial Celebration of the Statue of Liberty. There is an article that Frances Neller wrote as a guest columnist on how area clubs promote and benefit Lansing. There are also articles on Michigan’s Sesquicentennial celebration, including Lansing area events. There is an article on the Spartans winning the 1988 Rose Bowl, as well as articles on the development of Edgewood, a project run by Walter Neller. There is also information about the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum. Loose materials were removed and place in separate folders.

Scrapbook 13 (1983-1985, 1991) contains an article honoring Frances Neller for her fifty years of involvement with the Garden Club of Greater Lansing, articles detailing Governor Blanchard taking office, and an article detailing Walter Neller’s real estate career. There are many articles about Sparrow Hospital and invitations to various charity events for the hospital. There are also articles on a visit that Nancy Reagan made to the Lansing area and to the Lion’s Club meeting and an invitation to The Republican Senatorial Inner Circle for Walter Neller. There are also articles about Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and former MSU President John Hannah’s death in 1991. Loose materials were removed and place in separate folders.

Scrapbook 14 (1938-1954) contains newspaper articles about the Ohio River flood, extensive plans for West Side school, expansion of the municipal power system, the derailment of a Grand Truck train, Hillcrest Village, Poxson Park, the opening of the MSC Kellogg Center, and the State Capitol building fire.

Scrapbook 15 (1939-1949) consists of newspaper articles about the Lansing Chamber of Commerce, Midway Subdivision, River Forest, the Christian Science Building in East Lansing, plans for a war memorial center at MSC, Walter Neller Co. staff, the Pennsylvania Ave. viaduct over the Michigan Central Railroad tracks, Lansing Jaycees, and Wildwood Apartments sale to Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Also included is ephemera, such as business cards, Christmas cards, programs to Lansing Home Builders Shows, and the first annual state conference of the Michigan Home Building Industry in 1949.

Scrapbook 16 (1941-1943) documents the Cedarbrook Subdivision. It contains newspaper articles about Poxon Park, ads for lots, lowcost dwellings, photos of the homes and neighborhood, and Lansing township.

Scrapbook 17 (1943-1951) contains newspaper articles about Poxson Park, Knapps Home Planning Center, River Forest Development, and Walter Neller Co. ads and staff photos.

Scrapbook 18 (1948-1953) consists of a blueprint for River Forest subdivision in Lansing township, the Memorial Center Subscriber, and programs for a General Motors Luncheon, the laying of the cornerstone for the YMCA in 1949, the Central Methodist Church centennial celebration, the MSC Alumni Memorial Chapel dedication. Also included are newspaper articles about the MSC Alumni Memorial Center, Home Week, River Forest subdivision, Colonial Village, the Housing Boom of 1950, YMCA, Ottawa Hills, Neller Co. staff changes, MSC Kellogg Center, Glenmoor Golf Course, Frandor Shopping Center, Village Market Shopping Center, and the annexation of Delhi township.

Scrapbook 19 (1951-1954) includes newspaper articles about Colonial Village, the Walter Neller Co., Midway Subdivision, zoning issues, "The Contemporary Home," and Grand River Terrace.

Scrapbook 20 (1954-1962) has newspaper articles about the sale of several Lansing properties, including the Old School on Larch Street, a motel at Frandor, and Hotel Olds. There are also articles about plans for a subdivision south of Mt Hope near Elmhurst School, natural gas homes, Civil Center dedication, and the opening of Brookfield Plaza.

Scrapbook 24 (1963-1965) contains newspaper articles about the Lansing economy, East Lansing library, downtown library, shopping centers, Delta Mills, Community Chest, JFK assassination, the experimental house, I-96 Pine Tree Connector, Rainbow Lake, State of Michigan office complex, and parking lots and ramps. Also included is ephemera relating to the Lion's Club, Michigan United Fund, and the New York Worlds Fair.

Scrapbook 25 (1966-1968) contains newspaper articles about parking ramps and lots, roads and highways, the Neller Company, Frandor Shopping Center, the Delta Township shooping area, Lansing mall, downtown Lansing development, and subdivisions, such as Huntington Acreas, Ravenswood, Bancroft Hills, and Delta Mills.

Scrapbook 21 (1969-1977) contains newspaper articles about MSU president John Hannah's retirement, the Edgewood development in Lansing, ads for the Neller Co., development in downtown Lansing, and plans for new state office construction, including the State Secondary Complex in Dimondale. There is also ephemera from Neller's trip to Niagara Falls, Canada for a National House Builders Association conference, a program for the I-496 Olds Highway dedication, and various U.S. National Association of Home Builders conferences Neller attended.

Scrapbook 22 (1978-1982) includes ephemera from HUDAC conferences, Lions Club of Lansing, and Walter Neller Company's 50th anniversary celebration. There are newspaper articles about the Edgewood development, construction of State office complexes, the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, and ads for the Neller Co.

Scrapbook 23 (1983-1990) consists of newspaper articles about the Edgewood development, the economy, Lansing's 125th anniversary, R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, Lansing mall, State of Michigan office buildings, the Radisson Hotel, Bank of Lansing building, Breslin Center, Grand Tower, Victor Building, State of Michigan Library, Saturn, and Sam's Club. There is also ephemera about the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame, Sparrow Hospital, Lion's Club, and the MSU Alumni Association.

"The Walter Neller Co, The Hannah Farm, Lansing, MI" materials contains photos of buildings and land, maps and aerial photos of residential houses, apartment complexes, and businesses, such as Kroger and A&P. The first part consists of photos of the Hannah property near MSU and Hagadorn Road, as well as correspondence with Hannah and notes Neller made. The remainder are photos and maps/aerial photos of property around Lansing, East Lansing, and Okemos. It is unknown if these are also Hannah properties as well.

Also included in the collection are 35 mm slides of farm scenes, such as planting, harvesting, livestock, barns, and tractors, and family photographs.


  • Creation: 1924 - 1991


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Walter W. Neller was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Neller of Lansing. e graduated from Michigan State College (now Michigan State University) in 1928 with a B.S. in applied science. While in college, he was a member of the local Eunomian fraternity. In 1930, Neller entered the real estate business as an employee of Ehinger Realty Company. He started his own business, the Walter Neller Company, three years later. Neller was the state president of the Michigan Home Builders Association, and was the U. S. representative for the National Canadian House Builder’s Association. He was a founder of the Civic Players in Lansing, Michigan, and was a member of the Lions Club. Neller developed Cedarbrook, one of the first subdivisions in the Lansing area, and developed many shopping centers and other subdivisions in the Lansing and East Lansing area. He was awarded the Pioneer of Private Enterprise Award in 1980, and was inducted into the 1981 Lansing Hall of Fame.

Frances Winifred (Harvey) Neller graduated from Michigan State College in 1928 with an B.A. in liberal arts, and was married to Walter W. Neller. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and served as its president. She was also president of the Women’s National Farm and Garden Club, and the Women’s Club. She was on numerous boards, including the MSU Patriarch’s, and Sparrow Hospital Volunteer Board. Frances and Walter Neller had three children together: Mary, Suzanne, and Richard.

Mary Frances (Neller) Jessup, daughter of Frances and Walter Harvey Neller, married David Jessup on August 12, 1955. She graduated in 1960 from MSU with a B.S. in home economics. She also took extension courses from the University of Michigan. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and was elected president of the American Association of University Women. Mary was a chair of volunteer services at Sparrow Hospital. Mary and David had three children: Cynthia, Sharon, and Donald.

David Walter Jessup, married to Mary Frances Jessup, graduated from MSU in 1955 with a B.S. in forestry, and was affiliated with Alpha Gamma Rho. After he married Mary, the couple moved to Placerville, California, where David reported to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for duty in the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

Suzanne Neller was the daughter of Frances and Walter Neller. She graduated from MSU in 1967 with a B.S. in home economics, majoring in interior design. She was married to Ronald Dale Kregel, who received a M.A. in political science from MSU.

Richard (Dick) Neller, son of Frances and Walter Harvey Neller, attended Albion College, where he was a member of Sigma Nu. He married Susan Grace Hiler on August 31, 1966. Dick was a member of the Antique Automobile Club of America and worked for the Walter Neller Co. He also conceptualized the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing. His wife, Susan, became the director of the Museum in 1984. Dick was on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement, the United Way, and the Michigan Home Builders Association.


9 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Processing Information

Record group changed from 00196 to UA 10.3.426 to reflect Neller family members' connection to Michigan State University. M. Badgley Malone, January 2020.

Walter Neller Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Newman
March 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US